CLEVELAND — As the Cleveland Browns take the practice field on Thursday, they'll be without star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Ahead of Thursday's practice to prepare for Sunday's matchup vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski revealed that Beckham had been sent home from the team facility due to an illness. Stefanski said that the decision to send the 3-time Pro Bowl receive home came out of an "abundance of caution" relating to the league's COVID-19 protocols.
Beckham has not tested positive for the coronavirus and underwent an additional test for the virus before being sent home on Thursday. The results of that test will be available on Friday.
"You have to be careful," said Stefanski. "I don't want to assume anything, but with all of our guys we just want to follow the protocols and be safe."
While Stefanski said he wasn't willing to speculate on Beckham's availability for Sunday's matchup with the 4-0 Steelers, his potential absence could loom large for a Cleveland team that is off to its best start since 1994 with a 4-1 record.
Following a disappointing 2019 campaign in which he was hampered by injuries, the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is off to a strong start in his second season with the Browns. In five games, Beckham had tallied 366 yards from scrimmage (294 receiving, 72 rushing) to go along with four touchdowns (3 receiving, 1 rushing).
Speaking to reporters last week, the LSU product agreed with teammate Jarvis Landry's assessment that he's currently the happiest he's been since entering the NFL.
"I'd probably agree with that," Beckham said. "Coming from college into the league, it's just a completely different life. I feel like college was an intro and it was just right before the social media era and all that stuff so it's just a different day and age now and I think this is probably one of the best spots I've been in."